Posts in Curated Cheeses

January’s Curated Cheeses: Hibernation

January 29th, 2019 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

January, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, sometimes all we want to do is retreat into a cave and hibernate! Of course, if I had my pick of caves in which to spend a sleepy weekend, it would definitely be one filled to the brim with ripening cheese! In that spirit, this month I’m featuring Brooklyn’s Crown Finish Caves in our cheese selection. Crown Finish is an affineur – a company that buys very young cheeses from cheesemakers, carefully matures them in temperature and humidity-controlled conditions, and then sells them on to cheese shops and wholesalers once the cheeses have reached an optimal ripeness and desired flavour profile. Located in converted 19th century lagering tunnels in Crown Heights, Crown Finish works primarily with regional cheesemakers in NY and VT – though they make an exception to that norm with a very special cheese – which we of course had to include in our selection!

Bandaged Bismark
Grafton Village Cheese Company, VT
Sheep Milk, Pasteurized ($42/lb)

Named after a famed 19th century ram, Bismark is a sheep’s milk clothbound cheddar made at Grafton Village Cheese Company in Brattleboro. After its arrival at Crown Finish, the cheese is rubbed in smoked lard from Indianapolis-based cured meat company Smoking Goose, and aged for 4-6 months. With its crumbly texture and sweet caramel notes, Bismark is a definite contender for our new favourite dinner party cheese!

Goatlet
Consider Bardwell Farm, VT
Cow and Goat Milk, Raw ($40/lb)

Goatlet is a mixed milk, Italian toma-style cheese made by Consider Bardwell, a small goat farm in Rutland County, VT. A Crown Finish exclusive, Goatlet is made with 20% goats milk and 80% cows milk, released at 4-6 months of age, and took a first prize in its category at the 2017 American Cheese Society competition.

Characterised by a pleasing, moreish saltiness, Goatlet would be my pick this month for a table cheese, lunchbox addition, or pre-dinner appetizer. And if you’re looking to put together a light meal, this cheese would be an ideal companion to cured meats and pickles!

Bufarolo
Quattro Portoni, Bergamo, IT
Buffalo Milk, Pasteurized ($36/lb)

Bufarolo is a semi-soft, natural rind buffalo milk cheese made in Northern Italy by Quattro Portoni – a name which some of you may remember from last month’s selection. In December, I brought in Madame Bufala – a cheese made at Quattro Portoni, but aged by Italian stagionatore CasArrigoni. Made via a similar collaboration between Quattro Portoni and Crown Finish, Bufarolo is the only Italian cheese aged there. Bufarolo arrives at Crown Finish completely rindless, and forms its colourful natural rind over the course of 6-8 weeks in the caves. I love its fudgy texture and clean finish, and would recommend it with a prosecco or other sparkling wine.

December’s Curated Cheeses: An Organic Taste of Italy

December 14th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

For our December artisan cheese selection, we wanted to take it back to our roots and bring you an all-Italian, all-organic roster of cheeses. We worked closely with Pondini, an importer based right here in New Jersey who specializes in sourcing organic cheeses, oils and vinegars from Italy. Come in and taste them all!

Formagella di Montagna
Lombardy
Cow Milk, Raw ($26/lb)

Perhaps my favorite of this month’s selection, Formagella is a subtle crowd-pleaser. A cave-aged, semi-firm cheese with a pretty natural rind, its flavor is mild at first, but quickly opens up to deliver dominant notes of butter and mushrooms. This is an eminently meltable, very snack-able, all-day, every day kind of cheese that will be enjoyed by adults and younger folk alike!

Pecorino Gessato
Fattoria Lischeto, Tuscany
Sheep Milk, Raw ($32/lb)

I couldn’t put together an Italian cheese selection without a Pecorino, and this one is a great example of a classic Tuscan aged Pecorino. While overall less aggressive than a Pecorino Romano, Gessato still maintains the slightly meaty flavor note characteristic of many sheep milk cheeses. Shave this onto pastas and salads, or enjoy as a table cheese with honey and pears!

Madame di Bufala
Quattro Portoni & CasArrigoni, Valtaleggio
Buffalo Milk, Pasteurized ($36/lb)

A very special addition to any holiday cheese board, Madame di Bufala is a Taleggio-style cheese made with water buffalo milk! Buffalo milk is richer, sweeter, and yet milder than the milk of cows or sheep, and cheeses made with their milk tend to be luscious and decadent. Madame di Bufala’s creamy and spreadable paste beautifully balances the funkier notes from its washed rind, making for a cheese we just can’t stop eating.

October Cheese Selections

October 12th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

October is American Cheese Month! We’re celebrating with a selection of cheeses from 3 creameries representing different aspects of the American cheese landscape.

Ben Nevis
Bonnieview Farm, VT
Sheep Milk, Raw ($40/lb)

Made on a fourth generation family farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Ben Nevis is a firm, aged sheep milk cheese named after (in a nod to the farmer’s Scots ancestry) the highest mountain in the UK. It’s salty and savory, with just a touch of the sweet richness characteristic of sheep milk cheeses. Owners Neil and Kristin Urie use only the milk from their own flock of sheep, which they breed seasonally and graze rotationally on their land. Ben Nevis is one of my favorite American sheep cheeses, and not often seen in our area, so I’m really excited to bring it to Valente’s for American Cheese Month!

Redbud
Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, NC
Cow and Goat Milk, Pasteurized ($32/lb)

Owned and operated by a brother and sister team, Boxcarr Handmade Cheese is a relative newcomer on the American artisan cheese scene – but their Italian-inspired cheeses have already become staples at many of the best cheese counters around the country. Owners and first generation farmers Austin and Samantha Genke make cheese with milk sourced from nearby farms, allowing them to focus exclusively on the cheesemaking and aging process – while providing a valuable sales outlet for dairy farms in their region. Rubbed with paprika and lightly smoked, Redbud is great paired with nuts as a snack or pre-dinner appetizer.

Red Rock
Roelli Cheese Haus, WI
Cow Milk, Pasteurized ($32/lb)


The first thing you notice about Red Rock is its striking, singular appearance. An American original recipe by Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Chris Roelli, this cheese is made in a long loaf, colored a deep orange red with annatto, and shot through with streaks of blue. Chris, a fourth generation WI cheesemaker with family roots in Switzerland, decided to move away from producing block cheddars on an industrial scale, and instead began making smaller batch, cave-aged cheeses. His technical expertise and years of experience have resulted in award-winning innovations like Red Rock. A great beginners blue cheese, Red Rock’s cheddar base makes it excellent in sandwiches, but it’s best shown off as the centerpiece of a cheeseboard, where all can admire its good looks!

September’s Curated Cheeses: Families & Farms

September 11th, 2018 Posted by Curated Cheeses No Comment yet

Every month, we will bring you a curated selection of three-to-four cheeses built around a specific theme. The theme for September is “Families and Farms.”

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